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No Fuss Sustainable Christmas Shopping

Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re like me and really dislike the christmas busyness and want to avoid all the crowds, I have the perfect way for you to shop. 

My guidelines around buying presents is that they must be eco friendly, local, sustainable and as much zero waste as possible.  I also love buying gifts that are informative and useful and a bit quirky.  

So this morning I did a little bit of shopping online from local businesses who are doing awesome things for the people and the planet. And I wanted to share with you who they are just incase you would like to buy your friends and family members presents that are good for the environment and fun for the receivers.  

The first one is:  SPIRAL GARDEN

A family-run, Tasmanian-based online retail business, specialising in environmentally-friendly toys, quality art and craft supplies, gardening tools, books and inspiring gifts made from renewable materials.  They also run workshops and e-courses in permaculture, celebrating our local environment.  Spiral Gardens emphasis is on quality products that are made with love and care for the environment, as well as experiences that seek to connect and educate while spending time in nature, hence our motto: “play, nature’s way…”

These guys have an amazing online shop. Here is their website link – Have fun shopping


The second local business that I love is CARA EDWARDS DESIGN

Cara is an amazing women!  So creative and quirky.  I love her!  A graphic designer, a mad potter and a primary school garden teacher based in Hobart, Tasmania.  Cara works on a freelance basis and loves collaborating with local/ethical/small-scale businesses and organisations. With qualifications in horticulture and permaculture has given Cara’s work a unique perspective – her approach is unpretentious and she aims to create genuine, simple and positive designs.

I love how Cara designs products that are practical and fun.  She has a great range of cards, posters, badges representing Mother Earth.  Seriously in love with her work.  I can’t tell you what I bought as the person I bought for maybe reading this post.  Hehe.  

But here is what I love.  How cool are these badges?!    If you would like to shop this christmas with Cara here is the website link


The third local business I love is GOOD LIFE PERMACULTURE

Good Life Permaculture’s approach to life is centered around the concept of radical homemaking.  They place their home and community at the core of everything they do in order to create what they feel is a a good life.

Hannah Moloney and her partner Anton Vikstrom (and little Frida Maria) are busy applying their skills in permaculture and sustainability in their our home and their community since they arrived in Tasmania in mid 2012.   They are extremely passionate, hard working people, dedicated to fostering a resilient world to live in, now and for future generations.

Hannah has jut released some permaculture educational t.towels.  Which I am totally in love with.  This hits my christmas present buying to a tee.  Practical, educational, fun and waste free.  


For more shopping head here to Good Life’s website 

And number four of one of my favourite local businesses.  KYLIE ANNA CREATIONS

I love what Kylie does with her design work and also how inspiring and resilient this amazing women is!   Seven years ago Kylie discovered the power that positive words can have not only on her own life but those of others.   A dream was planted inside of her to create beautiful and inspiring items that would help uplift and inspire the world.  Kylie drew up a vision board of what she would like her life to look like and started dreaming (and doing).
As life goes, not all went to plan. Soon after, Kylie’s husband became very unwell with anxiety and depression and her dreams were put on hold so she could build her graphic design business up enough to support her family of five. The universe was having some fun with her – here she was so passionate about positive words, whilst her husband was in a deep dark place where he felt positive words had no power in comparison to the chemical imbalance that he was experiencing.
After a couple of years of trying everything she could find to help him, at the end of last year she realised that the only way she could help him was to help herself and lead by example. Letting go of trying to find all the answers for her husband, he was able to find them for himself, and now they’re in a much better place.
Kylie Anna Creations was born from Kylie’s love of words and ‘making stuff’!  She loves making fun gifts for family and friends.  And now it has evolved into three product lines.
Kylie Anna Creations creates beautiful, earth friendly, spiritual and inspirational homewares. The items are designed to help people in their spiritual practice, aiming at people on a spiritual path, yoga lovers, or anyone looking to create more peace, love and joy in their life. All items are currently made in Australia (soon to be all made in Tasmania) from earth friendly materials. They feature positive words, affirmations, and mandalas. 
fullsizerender-11Great gift ideas for not only adults but kids too.  Creating positive minds for these little ones is one of the best things for them leading into adult hood.  Please check out Kylie’s website.  You will be totally inspired.

Well there you have it.  Four of my favourite local businesses doing great stuff for us and the environment. Make this christmas a stress free one.  Go and grab a nice cup of tea, pop on some relaxing music and in the comfort of your own home you can go shopping.  

And you know what is also awesome, you’re doing something good, actually GREAT!!!!  You’re making conscious steps to living well, helping your friends and family live consciously and mindfully and you’re supporting local businesses.  What a great christmas!  Well done you!  

Please let me know what you end up buying.  Have fun shopping

Love Jo





Dear community

My heart is full right now.  I am extremely grateful to each and everyone of you who dug deep and donated to the Provenance Growers ‘Get Back Up’ Campaign.   Together we have raised $2813.09 to help farmers Paulette and Matt build a new Poly tunnel.  You can read about the campaign here 

What I love about this is seeing a community pull together to help each other out.  From all across the world we all donated and helped raise the money.  Your donation does more than build a new poly tunnel for Provenance Growers.  The money raised will go towards feeding people healthy, seasonal and local produce.  It goes towards enabling people to have access to healthy food.  It enables farmers Matt and Paulette to continue doing what they love, and that is to provide a healthy, safe and sustainable food future for their community. 

Your donation is more than money.  It is providing a positive and healthy future for humanity and the environment.  

On behalf of Primal Living I want to thank you so so much.  I am extremely grateful to each and everyone of you.  



Please Help A Fellow Farmer – Support Provenance Growers ‘Get Back Up’ Campaign

Hi lovely community

I would like to ask for your help.  In Hobart, Tasmania today Mother Nature has not been very kind to farmers.  We’re having extreme winds and unfortunately the winds have caused some major damage to a fellow farmer and friend of mine Paulette from Provenance Growers. 

Paulette with her partner Matt and daughters have an amazing market garden here in Hobart, Tasmania.  They’re extremely hard working farmers who care so much about providing the local community with fresh, organic, seasonal food.  

Today on Instagram Paulette posted some heart breaking photos of her propagation house.  The wind has absolutely smashed the house down and has caused it to be totally ruined.  This is so heartbreaking;  all of Paulette and her husbands work on the farm has been set back immensely.  They have lost so much work and also their future income.  

Here is the damage: 



Paulette has lost all of her seeds that she sowed in July and  her spring seedlings are mostly wrecked.   Not only that she has lost this seasons cucumbers, tomatoes and capsicums.  

I know how hard it is to farm food.  Having my own small farm I know the love, dedication and hours that go into farming and the willingness to ensure that as farmers we’re on top of the seasons to supply fresh local produce to the community.  
This is Paulette and Matts livelihood.  They have to re-build everything and start sowing this seasons crops again.  

I feel so devastated for Provenance Growers and when I saw the photos Paulette posted on her Instagram page, I wanted to help them straight away.  I sat with a cup of tea and thought to myself,  how can I help them to re-build their propagation shed and start over again?  

I know from my own personal farming experience how expensive running a farm can be.  It ain’t cheap let me tell you.  Every little bit that you earn from selling vegetables goes back into growing more vegetables for the next season.  It can be extremely stressful.  And I can’t even begin to feel how stressful and heartbreaking this is for Paulette and Matt.  
However what I can do is offer my support and love to a fellow farmer and friend.  Without any hesitation I have created the

‘Get Back Up’ Campaign – And this is where I would love your help.  

I am asking this beautiful community and the wider community to help me raise farm funds for Paulette, her family and her farm, Provenance Growers.   I would love it if you could dig deep and donate what you can to enable Paulette to start re-building her propagation shed and hopefully more so show can start providing the community again with fresh, season, organic food.  

I just want to say that it is becoming extremely hard for people to access organic fresh food.   Sadly we have just had another organic farm close their doors. It is extremely sad and we can’t let another organic farm who grows the most amazing produce close down.   With the stress, time and money of re-building, it may take Provence Growers a while to get back on their feet.  However we can help them, show our support and offer inspiration and hope by donating today.  

If you would like to donate to the Provenance Growers ‘Get Back Up’ Campaign I would love it if you could purchase one of the values listed below.   

Thank you so much for donating funds to this campaign.  I am so grateful for your support.  And I hope that we can help Paulette and Matt get back up and running so they can be back at the markets doing what they do best.  Selling us delicious, organic and healthy fresh produce.  

Please click on the following photos to place your donations.  


Please click on the photo below to donate $5.00 towards helping Provenance Growers, Paulette and Matt build a new propagation house.  


Please click on the photo below to donate $10.00 towards helping Provenance Growers, Paulette and Matt build a new propagation house.  


Please click on the photo below to donate $20.00 towards helping Provenance Growers, Paulette and Matt build a new propagation house.  


Please click on the photo below to donate $50.00 towards helping Provenance Growers, Paulette and Matt build a new propagation house. 


Please click on the photo below to donate $100.00 towards the campaign.  Thank you




This campaign has now  closed.  I would like to thank every one of you who shared this blog post and who also donated.  Together we have raised $2813.09.  That is amazing!  I am super grateful.  Such big hearts.  

All money will be donated to Provenance Growers to help them build a new poly tunnel.  

Again, THANK YOU xxx

 All photos shown are of Provenance Growers Farm.  Please see their Instagram page.  


Compost Bins, New Garden Beds and a Broody Hen

Hi there,  It’s a cold and wintery day here on the farm (even though we ‘re into the second month of spring)  I thought I would take up the opportunity and write an update on the farm.  

A lot has happened in the last month.  Projects are coming along.  We have installed eleven new raised garden beds, created a new garden area and have started to sow the spring crops.  We have also installed six new compost bins which have been made out of apple crates and we’re waiting in anticipation for chickens to arrive on the farm.  

Below is the new garden area.  We will plant tomatoes, capsicum and eggplant in the patch closest to you and the patch on the other side will have a green crop of barley.  We haven’t grown anything in that particular area so the soil is not at its best.  And I really need to go and have a soil test done on it.  The chickens have been having a ball scratching and eating any unwanted critters.


Below are the new raised garden beds.  We have decided to cover these with poly pipe and also cloche netting.  The cloche netting will act as a wind break and also protect the crops against cabbage moth.  We drilled holes into the wood and hammered left over pieces of rio into the wood.  The rio allowed us to place the poly pipe over the beds.  It has been extremely windy here and they poly pipe has held up to the wind.  Which is a really good sign.    


We  measured out the cloche netting.  5 metre lengths and cut them to size.  Took awhile to do all the beds. And also patience.  I am learning all the time patience is needed on the farm.  


Next we threaded in 4mm rope through the cloche net.  This will help us to hold the cloche netting to the garden beds.  


And here I am in spring with my puffer jacket and beanie on hammering rio into the wood.  The rio is used to enable the poly pipe to go on over the beds. 


And now look at our new compost bins.  Recycled apple crates.  I am super excited about these.  We want to be a waste free farm and utilise all the materials around the home as compost.  I still have so much to learn about compost but for now what we are doing is adding all the compost material from around the farm.  We also mulched up heaps of dried trees that had come fro the garden into fine wood chips.  We also added the green clippings from mowing the lawns and lots of good weeds from the garden beds.  And I mustn’t forget the hen house compost.  My favourite.  When I clean the hen house I take out all of their bedding and poo and put it into the yard where they scratch.  I leave it there for another few weeks and after they have had a good scratch through it and added more nitrogen into it from their own poo I then take it and add it to the compost.  

We have layered the materials that have gone into the apple crates and watered it down.  Every fortnight I will turn the bins and fork the compost into the empty bin beside it.  So currently there are three bins full and three bins empty.  
We won’t put any food scraps in there because it will attract quolls and possums.  Our food scraps are shared between the chickens and another closed compost bin.    


And the last update on the farm is about our little hen who is abut to be a mother.  I am so excited about this.  I have never had chickens before and actually I have never had any experience with a broody hen.  Lots to learn.  I did some research and what I read was it takes 21 days for the chicks to hatch.  The hen needs to be separated from the other hens and kept warm. She is very protective of her eggs and will only come off them to go to the bathroom and have something to eat.  However her eating is reduced a lot and I may find she doesn’t eat at all.  I was horrified by that.  So each day I am popping fresh food right next to her and also fresh water so that she doesn’t have to go off her eggs.  

And what I read about the hen being protective of her eggs is correct.  I have nearly lost my fingers when changing over her food and water.  She really does not like you going near her.  


Here is the little pen we have here in.  During the day I open up the front ‘curtain’ and allow fresh air and sun to enter and at night I close it all down for her.  If its a cold and windy day I close it all down so she is all snuggled up and warm.  It is going to be so rewarding to raise chickens.  I really do feel excited to see them hatch and to be a part of something so special.  


Normally with hens their comb is upright and bright.  My little hen’s comb is very small and not looking as healthy as it usually does, but that is because she is not eating or drinking enough and has gone into a ‘broody hen zone’.    I guess it is like us females when we are expecting.  Our bodies change and our hormones are a bit all over the place.    


And that there is an update on the progress with the farm..  Like I mentioned earlier, I am learning patience.  There is so much still to do with infrastructure to enable me to plant crops without them being eaten and we also need to put in wind breaks to protect the crops.  We have a dam that we thought we could fix from leaking, unfortunately it is still leaking.  I would love all this to be done yesterday, but I know that it all takes time.  And if I can’t get in there to plant, thats OK.  What is important is that I take the time each day to enjoy the learnings.  

Living on the land and wanting to support yourself self sufficiently is a lot of hard work.  I learn something about myself every single day and I have also learnt to be a lot kinder to myself.  I am working with nature and she has a way of making us slow down and only do what we can do.  

So whilst it is still an extremely windy day here  on the farm I am going to go into the hot house and plant out more seeds of tomato, capsicum, zucchini and pumpkin.  I hope that they will germinate and be ready to plant out in November when the weather has warmed up a bit.  

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little update and please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below.  My goal is to share as much as I can about our own experience on the farm learning how to live more sustainably and self sufficiently.  

Lots of love and happy gardening.  






You’re Worth It

Last year I was fortunate enough to receive the Sprout Producer Scholarship from Sprout Tasmania.  Sprout Tasmania is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers who are dedicated in supporting local food producers who want to turn their farming ideas into reality and go to market.  

The vision of Sprout Tasmania is to be a collective who creates positive change and prosperity for food producers by sharing knowledge, ideas and stories about the producers, their products and businesses.  They want to create a market place where consumers can purchase ethically produced, great tasting produce.  

And this is why I am honoured and feel very proud to be chosen as a Sprout Producer.  In a time where food is taken for granted and is making us unwell, as farmers and producers it is up to us to make a change, to be the change and to make a difference in the conventional agricultural and industrialized food industry.  

It is why we need organisations like Sprout Tasmania around.  To be a voice and to help up and coming ethical small scale farmers like myself produce organic, chemical free food.  To enable us to make a difference in regards to peoples health and well-being and also the health of our environment.  

As part of the program each recipient is allocated a mentor.  I am very lucky to have Tony Scherer as my mentor.  Tony is an amazing certified organic grower and owner of Rocky Top Farm here in Tasmania.  Tony has a wealth of knowledge and is an horticulturist and sustainable agriculture lecturer.  He has been growing and selling organic produce from the age of seven (so that’s around 60 years).  He is a guru in market gardening, and I am extremely grateful and fortunate to have Tony as my mentor for Primal Living Farm.  

Today I had Tony pop out to my farm to offer me some guidance.  It was so good to walk around the farm and ask questions on soil health, growing crops from seed, when to transplant out and organic, chemical free vegetable growing.  We also got onto the topic of charging people for food.  And this is where I came unstuck!  I came unstuck for a number of reasons; however the main reason is charging people to buy my vegetables.  You see I feel that every single person should have access to chemical free organic produce.  And when I can grow food and give people honest, organic real food I feel like my job is done. When I hand over my produce to another person and I see their face,  I know am helping them to be healthy and well and I feel that’s how I am being paid.  

However I also know that giving away food does not pay for the next lot of seeds I need to buy, the hours of work I put into the farm or the hours of research and courses I do to make myself a more knowledgable and resourceful leader in holistic health and sustainability.

I mentioned to Tony about how I haven’t made a sustainable income from growing food and how I didn’t feel comfortable charging people for my produce.  And what happened next was a very concerning look from Tony and a comment that went like this (not in exact words, but very close)

You’re growing food that is not sprayed with a single chemical.  Food that is extremely tasty.  You spend hours out there looking after the soil and ensuring that the produce is well looked after.  You’re ensuring that people are able to heal their body with chemical free and organic real food.   And his last comment was…’re worth it.  

And than he said this.  “More people know more about how their mobile phone works than what they put in their body”  

And that there folks, was the biggest aha moment I needed to push me in valuing and selling my produce and to be the change I want to see in this world. 

Tony is right.  More people do know how their mobile phone works than what they put into their body.  And if I don’t charge for my chemical free produce, I can’t be the change I want to see in the world and help educate people on why chemical free, organic produce is worth the extra dollars.
This post is not actually about me making money.   It is though about valuing what we put into our bodies, valuing ourselves, valuing our organic farmers and having a greater understanding of how our food is grown and why it is worth the extra few dollars we pay for it.  

When I charge $6.50 for a punnet of strawberries compared to $3.50 it is up to me to educate the consumer the value they are receiving when they buy my strawberries.  When you take two strawberries, one being chemical free and grown organically and the other being grown with pesticides and conventionally and you put the strawberries side by side, you wouldn’t know the difference (until you tasted it).  

And when you’re a family on a budget or anyone on a tight budget you habitually look for the cheaper punnet of strawberries. I used to do that.  However now that I do know the difference between chemical free, organically grown vegetables compared to conventional grown and the amount of sprays that potentially have ben used on the conventional fruit I believe my health and what I put into my body is worth spending the bit extra on and now I make a choice to buy organic.  

However if you are still not convinced and you feel that buying chemical free and organic fruit and vegetables is not worth it, I would like to share below an extract taken from a report written by Friends of the Earth on “pesticides food and you” 

“According to scientists, pesticides regularly detected on Australian Food have been linked to possible problems with human endocrine function, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), learning and behavioural problems, lower IQ and possible increases in Lymphoblastic Leukemia in children”

Longer term exposure to pesticides have also been linked with development of Parkinsons Disease.  Of particular concern is the possible impact of pesticides on the development of the human foetus, cancer, hypothyroidism and autism. Of the 125 types of pesticides detected on Australian fruit and vegetable surveyed, 45% are suspected endocrine disruptors, with 62% of all detections related to suspected endocrine disrupting pesticides. A number of health issues can be related to endocrine disruption”.  

The most ‘at risk’ foods in Australia due to pesticide exposure include: apples, wheat, strawberries, pears and grapes.
Also of concern is potential for pesticide residues in; lettuce, nectarines, peaches, bread, bran, biscuits, imported tea, barley, tomatoes, apricots, canola, flour, carrots, plums and green beans”.

So as you can see our health and well-being starts with food.  And because you’re worth (let me repeat, you’re worth it) spending the little bit of extra money on chemical free food you can take a massive step towards having good health and knowing more about how our food is grown.  

Some ways to start this life changing action is by changing a few simple things.
1:  Shop at your local farmers market.  As much as possible buy from the local small farmers who grow fruit and vegetables chemical free and organic.  Have a chat with the farmer.  Every farmer I know who grows organic food loves nothing more than chatting with their customers.  I often think the conversation and the connections that have been made is why we all do it. 

2:  Grow your own food.  You do not need to do what I am doing.  You can grow food on a very small block.  My mentor Tony gave me another great piece of advice and that was “Only grow what you love to eat”.  I would like to pass that same words of wisdom down to you.  Make a list of the vegetables that you and your family love to eat and start with that.  The excitement that you will feel when growing your own food will be extremely rewarding and it’s a great way to have the kids involved. 

3:  If you don’t have access to a farmers market and you can’t grow your own food ask your local supermarket if they can supply chemical free, organic produce.  Don’t be shy about this.  The more times each and every one of us asks this question, the more we can make a difference.  

4:  Educate and change.    I know that this can take time and I know that we should be able to eat food and not have to worry about what has been sprayed; unfortunately this is not the case.  

 If you’re having hormonal issues or any other health issues than the first thing I would be addressing is food.  It starts with food and it starts with you.  Ask questions, read the back of packets, use google to find out what that ingredient are.  Be a detective.  Lets change how we know more about our mobile to knowing more about how our food is grown.  

And on that note, I would like to help you get started.  When you see your favourite vegetable or fruit for $2 cheaper at a supermarket compared to the local organic farmer selling it down the road, I would like to encourage you to buy from the farmer down the road.   Because by buying from the local organic farmer will be worth the extra money you spent  in more ways than one.  And in the end you will be saving money by not having to spend money on fixing your health.

I wish you the very best in health and wellness, and remember you are worth feeding your body with real food grown organically.  So head out there and find the local and chemical free farmers doing that for all of us. 

Love Jo